Ellison looks to Punchestown as destination for Definitly Red

BRIAN ELLISON is hopeful stable star Definitly Red will do himself justice tonight against Ireland’s top steeplechasers.

Definitly red and Danny Cook are due to line up in tonight's Punchestown Gold Cup.

The 10-year-old is the sole British representative in the Grade One Punchestown Gold Cup that has attracted eight runners.

The field is headed by the Willie Mullins-trained Al Boum Photo, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March under Paul Townend.

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Malton-based Ellison initially intended Definitly Red – unlucky to be brought down in the Gold Cup – to run in Sandown’s Oaksey Chase last Saturday.

However, a combination of a twisted shoe and unsuitably fast ground prompted Ellison to pull out Definitly Red and head instead to Ireland.

Though the outsider, Definitly Red did win Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase last November before winning Aintree’s Many Clouds Chase for a second time.

He is owned by Phil Martin, and his wife Julie, who come from Tickhill, and will once again be ridden by jockey Danny Cook.

“The shoe happened on Saturday morning. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t going to run him because of the ground,” Ellison told The Yorkshire Post.

“It’s a good race. It’s as good as the Gold Cup – just slightly fewer runners – and I will be delighted if he runs into a place.

“Definitly Red was travelling really well in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham when he was brought down and he’s in great form.

“He is going to Punchestown a fresh horse and he should enjoy the ground the way it is at the moment.”

As for the aforementioned Al Boum Photo, the concern of Mullins is whether Cheltenham left its mark on his Gold Cup winner.

“You never really know until the pressure comes on, maybe at the second last fence, and then you’ll find out soon enough, but that’s what racing is about – you’ve got to race to find out these things,” he said.

Even if Al Boum Photo is at his very best he might not have things all his own way with two of his biggest threats hailing from his own yard.

Kemboy made it no further than the first fence at Cheltenham, but has since bounced back with a dominant victory in the Betway Bowl at Aintree under Ruby Walsh.

It is significant that Walsh, victorious in the Irish Grand National on Burrows Saint, has opted to stay on board Kemboy in preference to partnering last year’s Punchestown Gold Cup hero Bellshill.